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Iran still smuggling weapons to Yemen despite Saudi deal, US says

US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking said Washington remains concerned by Tehran's continued military support for the Houthi movement in Yemen.
An aerial picture shows people visiting the "Martyrs Cemetery" which was opened at the beginning of the Yemen conflict in the city of Taez on May 6, 2023. - Yemen has been shattered by a nearly-decade-long civil war which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and plunged the country into a severe humanitarian crisis. (Photo by AHMAD AL-BASHA / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran hasn't stopped Tehran from sending weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said Thursday. 

Tehran and Riyadh, which back opposing sides in Yemen’s civil war, agreed in March to resume diplomatic relations and reopen their respective embassies shuttered in 2016. Lenderking told reporters that the United States welcomes the China-brokered agreement but remains concerned by Iran’s role in war-torn Yemen. 

“They have armed and trained and equipped the Houthis to fight and attack Saudi Arabia,” Lenderking said. “These attacks have not taken place for over a year, but the Iranians have continued to smuggle weaponry and narcotics toward the conflict.” 

The United States has long accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a civil war has displaced hundreds of thousands of people since 2014 and pushed what was already the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine. 

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